Birzeit University Marks Balfour Declaration Centenary

Birzeit University’s community – faculty, staff, and students – marked the beginning of the “The Balfour Declaration 100 years on” week on November 2, 2017. The week will host multiple events and activities, held by the Deanship of Student Affairs, that mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour declaration.

The first activity of the week featured an on-campus protest by the university’s community that took place within a two-hour window in which the university suspended its academic and regular activities. The protest featured speeches by the University’s President, the Union of Employees and Professors, Student Council and a musical rendition of the Mawtini anthem.

The President of the University, Dr. Abedellatif Abu Hijleh, condemned the British government’s failure to renounce the Balfour declaration throughout the years. Dr. Abu Hijleh said, “We demand that the British Government take responsibility for its actions; however, we will not wait for the British, or anyone for that matter. We are taking great steps in building our state and achieving our national dream.”

The Head of Birzeit University’s Union of Employees and Professors, Sameh Abu Awwad, commended Birzeit University’s community on their unwavering stand against the Israeli occupation and asked the attending audience to join in on the following protest in front of the British Council in Ramallah. He said, “On the 100th anniversary of Balfour’s promise to the Zionists, I too have a promise: we will take back our land and we will achieve independence with or without anyone’s acceptance.”

The Head of the Student Body Council, Omar Kisswani, voiced the students’ condemnation of the Balfour declaration, and mirrored Abu Awwad’s invitation for students to join the protest. He added, “Birzeit University’s students have always been at the forefront of the struggle for independence, and I’m sure they always will be. We will march on to the British Council and deliver two letters of condemnation, one from the Student Body Council, and one from the university’s Union of Employees and Professors.”

A lecture, titled “The Political and Legal Dimensions of the Balfour Declaration,” was also held as part of the activities of the day. The lecture featured the Suleiman al-Halabi Department for Colonial Studies researcher, Dr. Khaled Awadallah; the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Public Administration at Birzeit University, Dr. Yaser Amouri; and the Professor of Political Science at Birzeit University, Dr. Abedelrahman El-Haj.

The week’s events will continue with the inauguration of the “On the Walls” photographic gallery by Iyas Abu Rahma, which will be held in in the Faculty of Arts lobby from November 2 – 8, and a viewing of the play “Mayrameyeh,” on Saturday, November 4, 2017.